London: Higher consumption of fruit, vegetables and whole-grain foods are associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, say researchers.
The findings, published in the journal The BMJ, suggest that even a modest increase in consumption of these foods as part of a healthy diet could help prevent type 2 diabetes.
In the first study, a team of European researchers examined the association between blood levels of vitamin C and carotenoids (pigments found in colourful fruits and vegetables) with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin C and carotenoid levels are more reliable indicators of fruit and vegetable intake than using dietary questionnaires. The research team compared 9,754 adults with new-onset type 2 diabetes to a group of 13,662 adults who remained free of diabetes.
The researchers calculate that every 66 grams per day increase in total fruit and vegetable intake was associated with a 25 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In the second study, the research team used questionnaires to measure the whole grain intake of more than 158,000 women and nearly 37,000 men who were free from diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
After adjusting for lifestyle and dietary risk factors for diabetes, participants in the highest category for total whole grain consumption had a 29 per cent lower rate of type 2 diabetes compared with those in the lowest category.
For individual whole-grain foods, the researchers found that consuming one or more servings a day of whole-grain cold breakfast cereal or dark bread was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared with consuming less than one serving a month.
The findings showed that eating two or more servings a week of oatmeal was associated with a 21 per cent lower risk of diabetes, a 15 per cent lower risk for added bran and a 12 per cent lower risk for brown rice and wheat germ, when compared to eating less than one serving a month.
And for fruit and vegetables, the findings also suggest that consumption of even a moderately increased amount among populations who typically consume low levels could help to prevent type 2 diabetes.